Yan Song is Vice Dean & Associate Professor (with tenure) at the School of Life Sciences and a Principal Investigator at Peking-Tsinghua Joint Center for Life Sciences at Peking University (PKU). She received her PhD in molecular genetics from Duke University and completed her postdoctoral training with Bingwei Lu at Stanford University. In the end of 2012, she joined the faculty of PKU to start her independent research group. Combining powerful fly genetics and state-of-the-art imaging with cell biology and biochemical approaches, her research group uses fruit flies, mice, and human cell lines to decipher the secrets of stem cell fate specification and commitment in development and disease. Her group currently focuses on understanding how timely cell fate commitment is achieved and how temporal and spatial cues are integrated to dictate cell fate/identity in stem cell lineages.
2001-2006, Ph.D, Molecular Genetics, Duke University
1996-2000, BS, Cell Biology and Genetics, Peking University
2023-present, Vice Dean, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
2020-present, Associate Professor (with tenure), School of Life Sciences, Peking University
2018-present, Principal Investigator, PKU-THU Joint Center for Life Sciences
2013-2019, Assistant Professor/Principal Investigator, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
2013-2018, Young Scholar, PKU-THU Joint Center for Life Sciences
2011-2012, Research associate, Pathology, Stanford University
2006-2011, Postdoctoral Fellow, Pathology, Stanford University
Honors and Awards
2023, Excellent Teaching Award, Peking University
2022, Excellent Mentoring Award in Undergraduate Research Training, Peking University
2021, Neurobiology New Frontier Youth Forum Speaker Award
2019, Journal of Cell Biology Early Career Advisory Board member
2016, Shen Tong Teaching Award, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
2015, Second prize in Junior Faculty Teaching Competition, Peking University
2015, Excellent Teaching Award, Peking University
2006, Dean`s Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University, USA
2005, Keystone Symposium Scholarship, USA
2002-2006, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship, USA
2019-present，Journal of Cell Biology Early Career Advisory Board member
Grant Review/Study Section Membership
Reviewer for Developmental Cell; Science Advances; Nature Communications; Elife; Journal of Cell Biology; Cell Reports; PLOS Genetics; Development; JGG
Meeting Organizers and Session Chairs
EMBO Workshop - Molecular and Developmental Biology of Drosophila (2022; 2024; 2026); Meeting Co-organizer
PLOS Genetics, Associate Editor
Journal of Genetics and Genomics, Editor
Developmental Biology, Guest Editor
The long-term goal of my group is to understand how precise and robust decisions on cell fate or cell identity are made in a stem cell lineage and how mistakes in these decision-making events lead to developmental defects or diseases. Combining state-of-art time-lapse live imaging of neural stem cell lineages within intact brains, powerful fly and mouse genetics, liquid-liquid phase separation, with biochemical and multi-omics approaches, we have been mainly focused on addressing: 1) how cell fate commitment is achieved in a timely and robust manner and 2) how temporal and spatial cues are integrated to dictate cell fate decisions.
For more information, please visit our lab website: http://yansonglab.org
Representative Peer-Reviewed Publications
*corresponding author; #contribute equally
1. Song Y.* (2022) It takes two to tango: The dance of cell fate specification. Developmental Biology, 490:125. (Editorial for a Special Issue on Transcriptional and epigenetic control of cell fate specification)
2. Liu X.#, Shen J.#, Xie L., Wei Z., Wong C., Li Y., Zheng X., Li P. and Song Y.* (2020) Mitotic implantation of a transcription factor via phase separation drives terminal neuronal differentiation. Developmental Cell, 52(3), 277-293; doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2019.11.019 [Featured Article].
Highlighted in Developmental Cell: Bonnay F. and Knoblich J.A.* (2020) Prospero Phase-Separating the Way to Neuronal Differentiation. Developmental Cell, 52(3), 251-252.
3. Li B.#, Wong C.#, Gao S.M., Zhang R., Sun R., Li Y. and Song Y.* (2018) The retromer complex safeguards against neural progenitor-derived tumorigenesis by regulating Notch receptor trafficking. Elife 2018;7;e38181 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.38181
Press release by Elife: https://elifesciences.org/for-the-press/3d24b574/body-s-own-bomb-squad-can-help-protect-against-brain-tumors
4. Xu K., Liu X., Wang Y., Wong C. and Song Y.* (2018) Temporospatial induction of homeodomain gene cut dictates natural lineage reprogramming. Elife 2018;7:e33934 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.33934
5. Jing M., Zhang P., Wang G., Jiang H., Mesik L., Feng J., Wang S., Looby J., Guagliardo N.A., Langma L.W., Lu J., Zuo Y., Talmage D.A., Role L.W., Barrett P.Q., Zhang L.I., Luo M., Song Y., Zhu J.* and Li Y.* (2018). A genetically-encoded fluorescent acetylcholine indicator for in vitro and in vivo studies. Nature Biotechnology 36:726–737
6. Liu K., Shen D., Shen J., Gao S.M., Li B., Wong C., Feng W. and Song Y.* (2017) The super elongation complex drives neural stem cell fate commitment. Developmental Cell, 40(6), 537-551 [Cover article].
Highlighted in Developmental Cell: Rossi A.M. and Desplan C.* (2017) Asymmetric Notch Amplification to Secure Stem Cell Identity. Developmental Cell, 40(6), 513-514.
Recommended by F1000Prime: https://f1000.com/prime/727458399
7. Liu K., Xu K. and Song Y.* (2019) Faster, Higher, Stronger: Timely and robust cell fate/identity commitment in stem cell lineages. Open Biology, 9: 180243. [Invited review]
8. Wu Y.C., Lee K.S., Song Y., Gehrke S., Lu B.* (2017) The bantam microRNA acts through Numb to exert cell growth control and feedback regulation of Notch in tumor-forming stem cells in the Drosophila brain. PLoS Genetics, 13(5):e1006785.
9. Lee K.S.#, Wu Z.#, Song Y., Mitra S.S., Feroze A.H., Cheshier S.H., Lu B.* (2013) Roles of PINK1, mTORC2, and mitochondria in preserving brain tumor-forming stem cells in a noncanonical Notch signaling pathway. Genes & Development, 27(24):2642-7 [Cover article]
10. Song Y. and Lu B.* (2012) Interaction of Notch signaling modulator Numb with α-Adaptin regulates endocytosis of Notch pathway components and cell fate determination of neural stem cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287(21):17716-28.
11. Ouyang Y.#, Song Y.# and Lu B.* (2011) dp53 restrains ectopic neural stem cell formation in the Drosophila brain in a non-apoptotic mechanism involving Archipelago and Cyclin E. PLoS ONE, 6(11):e28098 (# contribute equally).
12. Song Y. and Lu B.* (2011) Regulation of cell growth by Notch signaling and its differential requirement in normal vs. tumor-forming stem cells in Drosophila. Genes & Development, 25(24):2644-2658.
13. Yu L., Song Y. and Wharton R.P.* (2010) E(nos)/CG4699 required for nanos function in the female germ line of Drosophila. Genesis, 48(3):161-70. [Cover article]
14. Song Y., Fee L., Lee T. and Wharton R.P.* (2007) The molecular chaperone Hsp90 is required for mRNA localization in Drosophila melanogaster embryos. Genetics, 176(4):2213-22.
Our group seeks to decipher the secret of stem cell fate
decisions in development and disease. The new mechanisms unveiled in our group will provide fresh insights into stem cell biology and tumor therapies.